You’ve seen the film, you probably bought the T-shirt, you almost certainly owned some of the toys, and you no doubt recall Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pun-tastic dialogue in the movie, Batman & Robin. But after all these years, one thing still sticks in your mind: How much money did Arnold Schwarzenegger make playing Mr. Freeze in 1997’s Batman & Robin?
If you’ve landed on this post, chances are you want to know the answer – and I don’t blame you, because Arnie got top billing in the movie, even over lead stars George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell! So, how much money was paid for the privilege of having him in the film?
Well, everybody can chill, because I’ve got this. The answer is…
…a cool $25 million.
Yep, Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid a whopping $25 million to star in Batman & Robin – and that was for roughly 25 days’ work.
In 2017, The Hollywood Reporter wrote a piece on the movie, featuring input from members of the cast and crew, including comments from director, Joel Schumacher. The interview brought up a few interesting titbits about Batman & Robin, its production and reception, as well as information on the huge chunk of change that Arnold Schwarzenegger received for playing Mr. Freeze.
Commenting on the amount of money spent securing Schwarzenegger, producer Peter MacGregor-Scott, said:
“It’s tough when you wake up in the morning and just spent $25 million! Oh dear. But he was great.”
Just to put things into context, Batman & Robin was budgeted at $125 million – so a fifth of that budget was spent on just one of Batman & Robin’s lead actors. The rest of the money then had to be divided between the remainder of the cast, as well as the production costs, sound, marketing etc.
In total, there were five lead actors in the movie. Arnie got a fifth of the budget, it’s doubtful anyone else did.
In addition to taking a big slice of the budget, Schwarzenegger had it stated in his contract that he would only work 12 hours a day, so with the application of makeup and prosthetics (a four hour process in itself) the time he appeared on set was pretty limited. In order to work around this schedule, a number of Arnie ‘stand-ins’ were drafted in to cover the gaps.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Makeup artist, Jeff Dawn, said:
“We would have a couple of other Arnolds, standing around ready to get in their suits at any one time. It was so easy to hide the real Arnold with all of that stuff on.
“It’s really important to the close-ups, and that’s about it. Everyone else could be a double or a stunt person. It’s so time consuming and uncomfortable that we’d only use Arnold for what we needed Arnold for.”
This comment echoes a similar exchange made by actor Chris O’Donnell, which he made during the recording of the documentary series, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of The Dark Knight back in 2006. The actor, who played Robin in the big screen adventure, said:
“I’m in a lot of scenes with Mr. Freeze – I never worked a single day with Arnold, not a single day. I was on the set with him a lot, you know I’d hang out and talk to him, I did a lot of publicity with him, but literally they had a double for him that was so good and that suit was so complicated to get on, unless Arnold was talking in that scene he wasn’t in that costume.”
Not bad, ay?
Well, it’s fair to say I’d love $25 million for roughly 25 days’ work, but alas I do not have the star power of Arnie. Oh, but if I did.
Anyway, when anyone starts questioning your Arnie knowledge, specifically your knowledge of Mr. Freeze, you can tell them how many days the actor worked on set, how much he got paid and what happened when he wasn’t available to film a scene due to time constraints. That’s just as good as getting paid $25 million, right?
Thanks for stopping by to read this post! For more Batman-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.